A product of psych rock’s jammy spontaneity, the free-wheelin’ arrangements of jazz and electronica’s driven production, BLVD Noir is a unique outfit.
The Calgary trio’s forthcoming sophomore release, Mes Amis, aims to push their sound in a more daring direction, untethering themselves from their nightclub roots and into loftier territories.
BLVD Noir emerged out of Noir, a monthly residency at Habitat Living Sound launched in 2013 by house music DJs Rusty Meeks (Casey McMechan) and Jared Andres. The pair then invited saxophonist Juicy Jamey (Jamey Lougheed) to improvise live over the music they played.
As Noir progressed, the trio sought to create original productions that captured the night’s essence of house music fused with the free-flowing nature of a jam band, a project that culminated in their 2018 debut EP, Ombres.
“On the first album we were totally taking our sound from Habitat into the studio and trying to make a dance album,” says McMechan.
Stretching their creative minds for their latest effort, Mes Amis, the trio decided to maintain the jam-like atmosphere while exploring the territory outside of dance music’s rigidity.
“We were the most stoked on the jazz on the last album, so we were like, ‘Let’s try doing that more,’” says Andres.
Lougheed compares it to the creation of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.
“We basically go with what we’re feeling at the time and then just pick our favourite bits out of that,” he says.
During the winter, the trio would convene for jam sessions that lasted up to seven hours, with Andres on drums, Lougheed on multiple instruments, and McMechan operating production software. McMechan would then loop the parts they liked and they’d further develop that until a song was formed.
“None of us came to the table with something we’d already done. It was always, ‘Let’s create something together now,’” says McMechan.
Their improvisational roots are still on full display on Mes Amis as BLVD Noir explore new territories and arrangements. A collaborative product of their own making, the experimental trio continue to march to the beat of their own drummer (and machine) in Calgary’s music scene.